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Cordelia, CA – August 11, 2005

Hitching a ride – to safety

Little green heron rescued on BART train by San Francisco-bound commuter

Bart train photo

A green heron turned up in a Pleasant Hill BART train bound for San Francisco. (BART photo)

A young green heron, not yet able to fly, was rescued from a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train by a Good Samaritan.

Green heron

Green heron

When Arlen Mendoza got on a Bart train headed for San Francisco at the Pleasant Hill station she noticed a commotion going on with the other passengers. Looking under her seat she saw a small frightened bird. Realizing the bird was in trouble, she took off the beanie hat she was wearing and wrapped the little bird in it, causing applause from the other passengers. Mendoza didn’t know what kind of bird it was, but she realized that it definitely needed to get to a wildlife rescue center.

Not having a car, Mendoza commissioned a ride from a friend and together they drove the bird 25 miles to a rescue center they knew of. Presenting the bird, they learned it was a fledgling green heron. The bird was transferred to International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia, which cares exclusively for waterfowl and aquatic birds.

When Mendoza learned the bird was transferred to IBRRC and that it had a good chance of survival she was thrilled. “I’m so happy to hear Zoe Bart is safe and well,” she said when called by IBRRC's Public Affairs Director, Karen Benzel. In her short time with the bird, Mendoza said she felt a bond and named the little bird Zoe Bart. “She seemed to know I was trying to help her,” Mendoza said.

After an initial examination and treatment for parasites, Zoe Bart joined other green heron orphans being raised at the center. On August 17, 2005 Zoe Bart was able to hunt on her own and her blood work, weight, and feathers determined she was ready for release. Her federal band was applied and she was released with other green herons into the Suisun Marsh, a perfect habitat for herons with an abundance of the small fish, insects and frogs that herons feed on. However, she didn't go via BART!

Zoe's rescuer, Arlen Mendoza and her boyfriend, Robert Medeiros were excited to learn that they could adopt Zoe as part of IBRRC's adoption program. They will receive an official certificate that includes Zoe's Federal band number and date and place of release.

If you would like to adopt a bird for yourself or as a gift, please visit our adoption page.

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